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Juanita Enhances the Window to the Soul

Juanita Enhances the Window to the Soul

May 9, 2014

The eyes are the window to the soul said William Shakespeare.

Newspaper photographer, Juanita Shields, agrees and, in her years working for the Fairfax, she focused on people’s faces. Juanita recalls loving portraiture more than anything else.

Her fascination with the face continued when she moved with her Warrant Officer husband and family to Waiouru and then to Linton Camp, south of Palmerston North.

It was the eyes that captivated her and, in those years, Juanita started researching methods of how to enhance them further.

Firstly she experimented with eyelash extensions and then started sourcing eyelash sets, glues and accessories from overseas. Very quickly she discovered the most successful applications to highlighting the face but she couldn’t locate a satisfactory tool to apply the extensions.

“I discovered one from overseas that could separate the individual eyelashes but somehow it attracted the glue and, when clumping occurred, I had to start all over again,” Juanita said.

“A traditional method of attaching extensions to eyelashes can take up to 90 minutes and achieve a 90 percent success at best. It takes far too long. ”

So Juanita decided that, if there was no effective applicator that worked, she would invent and manufacture one herself.

For the next two years she made prototype after prototype. Finally she designed a tool that resembled a wedge made with three different metals, her secret ingredient.

This applicator separated the eyelashes but didn’t attract the glue when it came to attaching the extensions. And it reduced the time by half.

“I knew it could be achieved and was delighted when it worked. I took my prototype to Ideas Development in Feilding and they had it manufactured,” she said.

“It’s great to know I have the only eyelash tool of its kind in the world.”

The next step was to seek sponsorship and business acumen. She discovered that the BCC in Palmerston North ran an annual flagship project entitled Innovate.

Innovate is the biggest entrepreneurial programme in New Zealand and is open to anyone with a vision for a business, a creative solution to an everyday problem, a new invention, early-stage research or technology with commercial potential.

Juanita entered Innovate in 2013 and, after four months which included a series of workshops to refine her proposal and improve her presentation, she was chosen as one of three winners by a Dragon’s Den judging panel.

She received a monetary prize, and investment and advice, from two New Zealand business entrepreneurs, Sharon Bryant and Larry Ellison.

“Innovate was crucial in recognising my invention and awarding prize money and investment,” Juanita says. “As a result I now want to become a global supplier to the beauty trade.”

Juanita has had an initial run of beauty kits comprising the wedge divider, a spray protector, tweezers and lash extensions produced and is launching her new product in Wellington and the Manawatu this weekend.

Once she’s established in New Zealand, she wants to source the best beauty products from around the globe and allow her creative genius to
invent other applications.


ENDS

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